Lecture TimeWednesday 3:30pm - 5:15pm
HE Xiaoqing Rowena ((852)3943 7128 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Teaching Assistant LIU Shixuan (email@example.com)
Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China. Some leaders make such a profound impression on their times, that they appear, figuratively at least, to “possess” their own country. Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, who ruled from then until his death in 1976, was one such figure. The East is Red, the 1942 song that became China’s unofficial national anthem during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, referred to Mao as “the people’s great savior.” Others, in China and abroad, viewed him as a monster, on a par with Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
This course is an intellectual inquiry into the history of the PRC during the era of revolutionary transformation and profound upheaval (1949-1976) that was the hallmark of the reign of Chairman Mao Zedong. Like the Maoist era itself, this course embraces multiple aspects of Chinese society during that period, including politics, economics, culture, art, education, foreign relations, etc. The goals, institutions, mechanisms of social control, and, not least, the enormous price paid by the Chinese people in the course of striving to achieve Mao’s utopian/dystopian vision of China will command our attention, stimulate our thinking, and provoke lively but mutually respectful discussion. In conjunction with the discussions of reading materials, we will also have the opportunity to speak to scholars and authors of the books we read. Milan Kundera describes the struggle of man against power as the struggle of memory against forgetting. An important element of this course will be the critical examination of the contemporary relevance of China’s past, the challenges of the ongoing contest between state-imposed interpretations of history and the independent pursuit of historical knowledge, and its implications for China’s future and its relationship with the rest of the world.
This course aims to help students develop skills to think, write, and speak critically and analytically about the past. In particular, examining evidence with our own critical minds we will scrutinize the state-sponsored version of history presented by the Chinese Communist party. We will work together as historians to evaluate historical evidence in primary and secondary sources, to think within historical contexts, to recognize the historical forces at work, to identify continuities and changes, and to understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations as world citizens.
CLASS PARTICIPATION AND ACTIVITIES
This is a student-centered class. Students are expected to be actively engaged in class and to work with other students. Class activities include group discussions, news presentations, lectures, documentary/film screenings, and reenactment of historical scenes. I will continue my tradition of having class lunches/dinners with students who are interested in joining.
We will work together to create an environment for intellectual dialogues and to cultivate informed, responsible, and engaged citizens. Being empathetic and inclusive does not mean that we avoid core issues; it does not absolve us from our responsibility to engage in critical thinking and honest intellectual debates. I also recognize that each of us has our own individual differences and preferences in learning styles and strategies. I will keep that in mind and will work with each of you to bring the best out of your potential and talent.
Discussion Teams and Team Leaders
At the beginning of the semester, the class will be divided into discussion teams and team members will take turns to be leaders of their team during the semester. Each student learns to take responsibility as a leader as well as work as a team member under the leadership of another student. We all learn both as individuals and as members of groups to which we belong.
Each class will start with warm-up group discussions. We will divide into small groups to discuss major issues relating to the required materials of the day. In order to participate in group discussions, you will have to finish reading or watching the required materials before coming to class, know the basic facts, and establish their relations to the larger context. Students will have the chance to work with their own discussion team members as well as other students in the class. By the end of the semester, you will have worked with other classmates in your teamwork.
News Presentation on Current Affairs or Short Essay
Students are expected to keep abreast of news reporting on current developments in China. The present is shaped by the past. The present also continually shapes and reshapes our understanding of the past. Past and present are not separate, but co-exist, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in tension. News articles will be forwarded through the class mailing list. Students will form a group with other students who are interested in the same piece of news to present to the class the background (historical, social, political, and/or cultural) of the news you are presenting, the core facts of the issue (who/what/how/when), the implications, and your critical response. The main challenge is to try to understand the current developments in light of the broader picture, and to discover the historical undercurrents that continue to shape the present. You are encouraged to conduct more research on the issues you are presenting. Imagine that you were the professor and you were to teach your students what you have learned from the materials. After the presentation, students are encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback to the presenters.
In light of the difficulty for students to collaborate during the time when campus is closed, students will have the option, instead of news presentation collaboration, to write an individual piece based on topics from tutorial discussions.
• The final project can be a traditional research paper of around 4000 words focusing on a topic of your choice within the period of time we study, a reflective piece integrating primary and secondary source materials, or a creative/artistic project. Students in the past have created projects such as a painting, a poster, a play script, a documentary, a website, a work of fiction, and other creative work. If you are going to work on a creative project, a written introduction needs to be submitted accompanying the actual project, including primary and secondary source materials of the historical/social background, and the why, how, and what of your project.
• Final projects must follow academic writing styles such as APA, Chicago, and include academic citations.
• Please submit your final project online together with a Veriguide copy.
• Students can set up appointments with me and we will work together to tailor a project that will make you proud for many years to come!
I hope our exam-free approach will free your creativity and imagination, and we can learn and grow together in a safe and fun environment. You will receive one final grade for the course and it will be based on:
• Class Participation (30%)
• News Presentation or short essay (10%)
• Final Project (60%)
Each week’s reading will focus on one theme/topic. Readings will include journal articles, scholarly books, and news reports on current affairs. In addition to reading required texts, we will watch documentaries and films relevant to the period we study. These visual materials aim to facilitate students’ understanding of history through human experiences, and to cultivate students’ personal moral engagement as well as historical consciousness and intellectual understanding of the world. After all, the history that we are exploring is not just about dates, names, and numbers, but timeless questions such as values and choices, conflict and love, loyalty and betrayal.
Reading materials and links to the films and documentaries will be available on course Blackboard.
Further Recommended Readings
John Fairbank and Merle Goldman, China: A New History (Harvard University Press, 1999)
Merle Goldman, Timothy Cheek, and Carol Lee Hamrin, eds. China’s Intellectuals and the State: In Search of a New relationship (Harvard University Press, 1987).
Roderick MacFarquhar, ed, The Politics of China: 1949-1989 (Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Roderick MacFarquhar, Mao’s Last Revolution, (Harvard University Press, 2006)
Lucien Bianco, Stalin and Mao: A Comparison of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions (The Chinese University Press, 2018)
Chen Jian, Mao’s China and the Cold War (University of North Carolina Press, 2001)
Chen Ruoxi, The Execution of Mayor Yin and Other Stories From the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (revised edition) (Indiana University Press, 2004)
Edward Friedman, Paul G. Pickowicz, and Mark Selden, Chinese Village, Socialist State (Yale University Press, 1991)
Mao Zedong, Selected Works, vol. 5 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-5/index.htm
James A. Millward, Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang (Columbia University Press, 2009)
Alexander V. Pantsov with Steven I. Levine, Mao: The Real Story (Simon & Schuster, 2012)
Andrew G. Walder, China under Mao: A Revolution Derailed (Harvard University Press, 2017)
Yang Jisheng, Tombstone The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012)
Pepper, Suzanne. Civil War in China: The Political Struggle, 1945-1949. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999)
Merle Goldman, Literary Dissent in Communist China (Harvard University Press, 1967).
Strauss, Julia, ed. The History of the PRC (1949-1976). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 37-58.
Huang Shu-min. The Spiral Road: Change in a Chinese Village through the Eyes of a Communist Party Leader. Boulder: Westview Press, 1998.
Goldman, M. China’s Intellectuals: Advice and Dissent, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.
MacFarquhar, R. The Hundred Flowers Campaign and the Chinese Intellectuals, London: Octagon Press, 1974.
MacFarquhar, R. The Origins of the Cultural Revolution: The Great Leap Forward, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983.
Baum, Richard and Frederick C. Teiwes, Ssu-Ch’ing: The Socialist Education Movement of 1962-1966 (Berkeley: University of California Center for Chinese Studies, 1968)
Leese, Daniel. Mao Cult: Rhetoric and Ritual in China’s Cultural Revolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Esherick, Joseph W. Paul G. Pickowicz, and Andrew G. Walder, eds, The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.
White, Lynn T. Policies of Chaos: The Organizational Causes of Violence in China’s Cultural Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.
Bernstein, T. Up to the Mountains and Down to the Villages: The Transfer of Youth from Urban to Rural China. Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1977.
Brown, Jeremy. City Versus Countryside in Mao’s China: Negotiating the Divide. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Goldstein, Melvyn C. The Snow Lion and the Dragon: China, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
Mullaney, Thomas S. Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.
Luthi, Lorenz M. The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.
How to Succeed in This Course?
• Actively engage in class discussions and activities. Please note that attending classes and finishing all assignments are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for getting a good grade. It is the quality of work that counts, just as in class it is the engagement in class activities that matter.
• Finish all required assignments.
• Finish reading assignments before coming to class. It will help you to contribute to discussions.
• Take notes in class. These notes will help your final projects as well as your other research requirements later such as your graduation thesis.
• Read the syllabus. It details requirements and expectations for this class.
• Be attentive when other students are presenting and speaking. Share your feedback and learn from each other. We speak with the possibility of being heard; we listen with the possibility of being changed.
• Think critically and prepare to be challenged. When you challenge others, do so respectfully and with an open mind. I will provide feedback in class on your presentations, participations, and projects. This way, everyone can benefit from others’ achievements and mistakes. The feedback is not meant to embarrass you but to help improve your learning. Please be prepared that learning can be uncomfortable and you need to step out of your comfort zone.
Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/policy/academichonesty/.
With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.
Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.
Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.
The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.